Features

Dream a Little Dream

Randy Jewart reaches for the sustainable culture stars

Dream a Little Dream
Photo by John Anderson

When I spoke with Austin Green Art's Randy Jewart last week, he was at a Keep Austin Beautiful party in Waterloo Park, where he'd been helping kids fashion plastic bags into works of art. The activity, he explained, gave kids the chance to learn about the environmental impact of the bags while also "taking the material and cutting it and manipulating it and ironing it – getting that sort of visceral connection to it." Jewart observed the scene as moms took pictures and kids ran around in plastic hats with words like "Toilet Tissue" emblazoned across the front. "To me, this is the community basis for a sustainable culture," said Jewart, "where you're a participant in the cycle of reusing materials, of meeting cool people, of educating yourself while you're doing these things."

Underwhelmed by the prospect that the environmentally conscious are doomed to lives of thankless, lonely lightbulb-changing and trash-sorting, Jewart hopes to see sustainable-minded people forming lively communities in which they can inspire one another, learn together, and maybe get a pat on the back for a job well done. It's with this in mind that Jewart invited environmental author/journalist/activist Bill McKibben to Austin this past March to rabble rouse at South by Southwest Interactive, and it's why he's working with Austin EcoNetwork on a project called Share 350, which will facilitate community-building among the eco-minded.

While community-build-ing has emerged as a central theme in his projects, it was only four years ago that Jewart, a sculptor, held "community art" in disdain. "The big lightning bolt for me, when I knew that I had to change my career," he explained, "was listening to William McDonough." Jewart heard the sustainable-architecture guru on his car radio and was so impressed, he pulled the car off the road to listen. "I couldn't just be an artist traveling around the country and getting to go overseas and make art that didn't contribute to this movement," said Jewart. "Ever since then, it's been this sort of gradual synthesis of my creative life and my environmental life."


Green Crush Faves:

Eco-Books: Endgame by Derrick Jensen, Deep Economy by Bill McKibben, Cradle to Cradle, "Death of Environmentalism" by Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Randy Jewart
Zero Waste, Black-Owned Startup Nurtures Community One Plant at a Time
Zero Waste, Black-Owned Startup Nurtures Community One Plant at a Time
Black Lives Veggies plants seeds of change

Veronica Meewes, Oct. 9, 2020

Res Publica
Res Publica
Citizens' calendar, Dec. 23-30

Dec. 24, 2010

More by Nora Ankrum
Stressed Out? Let Your Freak-Out Flag Fly!
Stressed Out? Let Your Freak-Out Flag Fly!
Making stress into a friend instead of a foe

Oct. 2, 2020

Tilling the Soil of Tomorrow
Tilling the Soil of Tomorrow
How one design firm is tackling technology gaps to build the farm of the future

March 11, 2016

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Randy Jewart, Austin Green Art, SHARE 350, Keep Austin Beautiful, Austin EcoNetwork, William McDonough

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle